On May 18th, from 10 am-2pm at Flagg Road Congregational Church in West Hartford, the Heifer community of Connecticut will be gathering for a fun, engaging, and informative day of community. If you've been involved with Heifer in the past and want to get reconnected, if you've been looking for a way to take action and make a difference, if you're a long time volunteer, or even if you just want to meet some other people in Connecticut who care, this is the event for you. Come ready to discuss ideas, think critically about important issues, learn a lot about hunger, poverty, and how to take action, and have a great time!

RSVP to kim.machnik@heifer.org or 501-681-7394

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Event Schedule:
Attend one workshop or join us for the full day!

9:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Welcome & Registration
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Elementary Educators Workshop or Discover Heifer! (Farm and Global Village Tour)
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. Homemade Lunch with Overlook Farm Products
1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Secondary School Educators Workshop or Discover Heifer! (Farm and Global Village Tour)
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Refreshments and Networking

Workshop Descriptions:

Elementary (10 am- 12pm): Teaching elementary school is as much about igniting enthusiasm for learning as it is about teaching skills— but sometimes, in the world of standards, testing, documentation, and changing curricula, it can be difficult to provide relatable, exciting material that makes students sit up and take notice. Heifer offers exciting stories, standards-based lesson plans, activities, games, and service learning programs that make major world issues accessible to even Pre-K students, and engage them with the idea that their actions truly can change the world. Pre-K through 6th grade teachers should participate in this workshop to learn about our popular Read to Feed program and supporting classroom resources, try activities designed for elementary students at all levels, and discover how quickly and easily you and your students can become active citizens of a dynamic global community.

Secondary (1pm- 3pm): Relevance and rigor are essential components of today’s upper level classroom. Heifer offers Common Core indexed curriculum materials and service learning programs that can inject your teaching program with critical thinking, creative problem solving, and up-to-date information about our changing world and the pressing issues we face as a society, all without stepping outside of your rigorous standards-based curriculum. Our Get It! (Global Education to Improve Tomorrow) curriculum is a dynamic interdisciplinary tool that allows you to integrate topics such as global trade, inequities, hunger, poverty, consumer choice, and the global environment into your language, science, social studies, or economics classes, using primary sources, student research, service learning, and much more. This workshop will provide a hands-on guided tour of our resources for students in 7th grade and up. Come ready for discussion, interactive activities from the curriculum and beyond, and a new way of looking at how you and your students fit into the network of people, places, and events all over the planet.

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Living Gifts Giving Life at The Renbrook School

Posted by Kim On Wednesday, January 16, 2013 0 comments

November 30th was no ordinary Friday at the Renbrook School in West Hartford, CT. The sixth grade buzzed with excitement as they prepared for an afternoon of making a difference. It was time for the school’s annual Living Gift Market, a fundraising event planned and run by the sixth grade students, and coordinated by teacher Beverly Fitzsousa.

Throughout the fall, the students learned about hunger, poverty, and life in far-flung places. They read novels, studied cultures, and discussed the issues involved in the state of poverty and hunger around the world. As they delved into the personal stories of individuals and uncovered the complex network of people and issues involved in hunger and poverty around the world, the students became aware of their role as citizens of a global community. Soon, the time came to take action. They created posters, snacks, and sales pitches, and prepared to educate others.

 As people flooded into the cafeteria, the students stood proudly and confidently at their booths, each representing a different nation in which Heifer works. They spoke eloquently about the impact that animals can have on a community in need. Reciting the seven M’s of livestock (milk, meat, manure, money, material, muscle, and motivation), explaining Heifer’s cornerstone of Passing on the Gift, and asking friends, family, and community members to support Heifer’s mission to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth, these young activists were energized and inspiring. People moved between booths, buying animals for families in need around the world, then wandered outside to visit the llama, sheep, and goat in the courtyard.
At the end of a festive day of education and generosity, success could be measured in many ways. The thousands of dollars raised would go on to lift families around the world from hunger to hope, but their impact was only the beginning. With their  knowledge and passion, the Renbrook sixth graders opened eyes, touched hearts, and changed minds—and that will have unknown and wonderful echoes into the future.
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Posted by Jp Perkins On Thursday, November 01, 2012 0 comments

On Saturday October 27, twenty-three Heifer International area volunteers and community engagement staff convened at Overlook Farm, Heifer’s Northeast Learning Center, to reconnect, to refresh on what’s new at Heifer, to experience an Overlook Farm program, and to recommit to working to end hunger and poverty.  The centerpiece and highlight of the day was participating in SEEDS, a program of experiential learning that had participants visiting the global village, collecting eggs, milking goats, digging carrots, and cooking and eating a “typical” global village meal. 

After convening and reconnecting with old friends, the participants heard from Pat Keay, Heifer’s National Community Engagement Manager, about new developments with the organization.  Some of the highlights:  Read-to-Feed has been re-launched, a guide to “Twelve Stones” has been developed, Heifer’s partnership with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs is going strong, new programs and an office has been established in Bangladesh, Gates recently awarded an extension grant for EADD, and together we are exploring possible expansion into Tanzania and Ethiopia to help another 274,000 families.  Heifer Hanukkah for Jewish Congregations is now online, and the World Ark will soon have an app for smart devices. 

The participants then split up into three smaller groups to engage in SEEDS.  This is a very popular day program at Overlook that rotates groups through educational stations including a global village meal, hands-on learning at village sites, livestock interactions and garden activities to discover the concepts of development and sustainability.  This day the smaller groups visited homes from Peru, Guatemala, China, and Ghana and learned about some of the livestock in each as well as zero-grazing pens and biogas extractors and many other concepts and principles from Heifer projects.  They were able to interact with the livestock learning the differences between store bought and farm fresh eggs and getting their “hands-on” with milking a goat.  They visited the gardens and learned how Overlook is teaching youth about sustainable gardening and the benefits of local foods.  Finally they convened at three different global sites to “experience” cooking and eating in a different part of the world, potato and cabbage soup in Poland or “zamba” (barley tea) from the Tibetan region of China. 

At the end of the day, all left with a new appreciation for educational programs at Overlook Farm, as well as with new enthusiasm for their work promoting Heifer International in the communities of New England, New York and northern New Jersey. 

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Rabbits, Rabbits, Rabbits

Posted by Jp Perkins On Wednesday, April 04, 2012 0 comments

While I was staffing a display at the Boston Archdiocesan Catechetical Congress, near the end of the afternoon a nun approached me to tell me that she was very happy to see Heifer International represented. Sister Jane Newcomb, of the Holy Union Sisters, proceeded to tell me that she had participated in a Heifer project with rabbits when she had been a missionary many years ago in Cameroon, Africa. She had been a teacher at St. Mary's Home Economics Secondary School in Ndop. She told how she had initially received two rabbits from parents who could not pay the school fees of their daughter. With help from a Peace Corps volunteer, she and the students learned about raising rabbits. Soon Heifer International got involved with a grant to build a large rabbit house and ten rabbits (New Zealand Whites). With the help of Dr. Mopoi, the then Heifer Cameroon country director, and a Cameroonian counterpart, Mr. Alex Mbianda, it was amazing to see the rapid success of this project. When she was transferred from Ndop, there were 30 well-established family rabbit farms, 300 rabbits on record, and other rabbit farmers in training. She was able to return a few years ago for an anniversary of her nuns at the school, and was amazed to find that the project was still going strong. Sister's message is, "To 'Pass on the Gift' without the exchange of a single franc was what made this project one to be admired...and encouraged wherever possible. To improve a person's nutrition in a developing country is a reward in itself."

(In photo: Sister Marilyn Gignac, former principal of St. Mary's in Ndop, and Sister Jane Newcomb, rabbit project director and participant.)

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About Us

This blog is the online home to a grassroots volunteer group with a common goal of fulfilling Heifer International's basic mission - "To end hunger and save the earth by passing on the gift to others.” We are an extension of Heifer International and together we are improving our world and the lives of resource-poor families while building the foundation for a peaceful world in practical, down-to-earth ways.